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Old 05-26-2006, 09:21 PM
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Default Warp Question

Umm...well, this is a stupid question inspired by watching ShuttlePod One at 10:15pm and having completed a successful driving lesson, and goes something like this:

"Malcolm said that at impulse speed they were not likely to run into any other species. However, if we're talking about impulse and warp as relatives of speed, wouldn't maximum impulse mean they were grazing warp speed already, or am I being stupid?"

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Old 05-26-2006, 10:20 PM
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At high impulse you'd be experiencing pretty high time dilation effects due to that whole special relativity schtick, so I guess avoiding it would be a good idea. As far as I know you couldn't "get" to warp speed - the Treknology of warp engines goes that they fold space, so that though you are effectively going faster than c, you aren't actually, so special relativity is preserved. In impulse you're moving in real space, so it's a completely different propulsion method - you couldn't, by going fast enough, go from impulse to warp speed (because under impulse power c remains as a hard limit) therefore limiting your maximum speed to a fraction under c.

But don't quote me on that.
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Old 05-26-2006, 10:27 PM
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[NOTE: Jedi snuck in while I was typing this.]

Short answer: There's probably a gap.

Long answer: I don't think there's any canon evidence about how fast full impulse is, but Warp 1 is traditionally the speed of light. Full impulse would have to be considerably slower than that, because if you're not warping space, relativity applies to you -- in particular, you experience time dilation based on your speed. A day's travel at half the speed of light is 1.15 days to the rest of the universe. At 99% lightspeed, that day becomes a week. It would be impossible to coordinate a fleet of ships with that sort of time dilation going on, so full impulse couldn't be very close to the speed of light.

Of course, Trip and Malcolm were out of options, and skipping ahead a few years is better than dying... but that's where the other consequence of relativity comes in. The more you accelerate, the greater your inertial mass, meaning more energy is required to accelerate you further. Accelerating to the speed of light is impossible; accelerating close to it takes a prohibitive amount of energy. In conclusion, never get into Shuttlepod One.

Incidentally, there was an Andromeda episode that made clever use of this idea. Before slipstream propulsion was discovered, Earth built a ship, the Bellerophon, that could actually meet the insane energy requirements of near-lightspeed, and sent it out to explore. The crew knew the universe would change tremendously in their absence, but felt it was worth it. So they were still out there after Dylan's 300-year nap and ended up rescuing him when his slipstream drive was destroyed, which left him with a dilemma: stay where he was on the slim chance the Andromeda could find him, or let the Bellerophon take him to the nearest planet and lose another 57 years of relative time? Cool episode. Tony Todd was in it.
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Old 05-26-2006, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke
Cool episode. Tony Todd was in it.
A very Trek episode. Sometimes extremely blatant.
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Old 05-27-2006, 12:30 AM
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Technical details:

Acoording to the plans for the drive presented in the TNG technical menu, the impulse drive uses a bunch of fusion reactors to power up a set of subspace driver coils (which seems to explain how they can go in reverse if the engines are only on the back). However, they do have to deal with the prior mentioned relativistic effects, I think, so they normally stick around .25 c.
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:14 AM
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You people make my head hurt. Just watch the show!! :P But I kid. PHJ you bring up an interesting point about warp drive thing not pushing you ahead in time and stuff because you're not actualy going past the speed of light. That was always in the back of my mind and for some reason what you said just made everything click in my brain. I love when that happens.
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Old 05-27-2006, 03:10 AM
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As far as I can tell, looking at the star trek Encyclopedia, Impulse speed is is around one-quarter the speed of light. Although this is I think the norm for around the Next Gen era, so back then, in Enterprise, Impulse might be even slower.
There's a niffy little chart in the Book to, that explains the differt speeds too.

At warp Nine, Five Light years takes - 1 Day
At warp Five it takes - 9 Days
At Impuse - 20 Years.

One point that has yet to be explained (to me at least) is the difference between the 'old' warp speeds and the 'new' warp speeds, and there relevence in Enterprise.
We know that back in Kirks time the Enterprise reached warp speeds of around warp 14. But when Next Gen started, old Gene wanted to put warp 10 at the top. So all the older speeds have been 'recalibrated' - meaning they were less than warp 10. Kirk's warp 11.8 is Janeway's warp 9.2. Ok. Heres the bit:
Enterprise has a top speed of warp 5. Would that mean they are really going around warp 2-3?
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Old 05-27-2006, 03:37 AM
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Actually, I remember running across a debate somewhere when Enterprise first came out about that. From what I remember, I think they said that this was theoretically warp 5 on the TNG scale...but someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong.

And yeah, supposedly the subspace coils on the impulse drives gets rid of the time dilation effects of travelling at impulse (the one good thing about being in a Trek RPG as an engineer is that you learn the stuff backwards and forwards, lol).
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Old 05-27-2006, 04:02 AM
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You people make my head hurt. Just watch the show!
The problem with watching the show with a science degree is that you have to quell the urge to scream "WRONG!" and hurl things everytime they screw something up.
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Old 05-27-2006, 05:54 AM
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Even without a science degree...

...mashed potato blocks a hull breach? NO WAI!

:roll:
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:44 AM
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Whoa! Lots of helpful replies, sankuu!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke
Incidentally, there was an Andromeda episode that made clever use of this idea.
Oh! My mom has all the boxsets downstairs - do you know which season it was in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Burt
At warp Nine, Five Light years takes - 1 Day
At warp Five it takes - 9 Days
At Impuse - 20 Years.
That probably explains Malcolm's pessimism. Probably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hejira
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...mashed potato blocks a hull breach? NO WAI!
Yah wai!

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Old 05-27-2006, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeke
[NOTE: Jedi snuck in while I was typing this.]
Too slow old man, too slow. :P
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Old 05-27-2006, 02:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burt
One point that has yet to be explained (to me at least) is the difference between the 'old' warp speeds and the 'new' warp speeds, and there relevence in Enterprise.
We know that back in Kirks time the Enterprise reached warp speeds of around warp 14. But when Next Gen started, old Gene wanted to put warp 10 at the top. So all the older speeds have been 'recalibrated' - meaning they were less than warp 10. Kirk's warp 11.8 is Janeway's warp 9.2. Ok. Heres the bit:
Enterprise has a top speed of warp 5. Would that mean they are really going around warp 2-3?
As memory serves, the TOS warp speeds were just a strict cubic function. Warp x = (x^3)*c. So Warp 1 was the speed of light. Warp 3 was 27 times the speed of light. Warp 5 was 125 times the speed of light.

I guess the problem with TNG and later was that warp speeds continued to climb, so Starfleet redid the warp scale at some point. Why they would redo the warp scale is beyond me. Why the producers of TNG felt the warp scale needed to be redone is beyond me. What's so wrong about Warp 20? Anyway, maybe once Starfleet engineers realized that there was a (ahem) threshold that couldn't be passed, they decided to rework the warp scale to make that threshold Warp 10.

If you want to see a graph of the how the two scales look, go to http://flare.solareclipse.net/ultima.../6/2585/1.html and be scared.

Whether Enterprise falls under the TOS scale or the TNG scale strikes me as being whether you see the warp scale being changed as a product of Star Trek designers in the real world, or Starfleet engineers in the Trek universe. If the former, then it would still be TNG; if the latter, then TOS. I personally have always assumed the latter. (And Burt, notice in that link above how Warp 5 TOS is not that far off of Warp 5 TNG and is definitely higher than Warp 4 TNG.)


Lostoyannaya, the episode is Season 3, episode 5, "The Lone and Level Sands"
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Old 05-27-2006, 03:13 PM
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Yeah, thinking about it, the scale does go up rather fast. So the difference between even warp 2-4 is tiny compared to warp 9.5-9.8.
I guess that means the lower warps aren't that affected.
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:44 PM
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While most of the relevant stuff has been said already, let me add two tidbits: First, Full Impulse is definately .25 c. I don't know if it's strictly fanon, but if it is, it's very widespread. There's no reason to assume it's otherwise, really.

...actually, my second point is a reason to assume otherwise: In Star Trek VI, Sulu says the fleet is heading home at full impulse. What the heck?

A) It's wrong, they meant warp.

or

B) Impulse is a viable interstellar propulsion system.

Have fun puzzling that one out.

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Old 05-27-2006, 07:52 PM
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They've done that a few times in episodes. Said things like 'Full Impulse!' When they're going to another star system light years away.
Guess we just have to ignore it!
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Old 05-27-2006, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek
Lostoyannaya, the episode is Season 3, episode 5, "The Lone and Level Sands"
Sankuu both for the episode reference and using my full name

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Old 05-27-2006, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burt
They've done that a few times in episodes. Said things like 'Full Impulse!' When they're going to another star system light years away.
Guess we just have to ignore it!
There's one really great quote during sometime in S1 TNG ("Conspiracy"?) when the following exchange actually takes place:

Riker: Helm, Warp 6.
LaForge: Aye, sir. Full impulse.
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Old 05-28-2006, 12:17 AM
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Love to be on the bridge at that time, to hear what comes next.

Riker: Helm, Warp 6.
LaForge: Aye, sir. Full impulse.
Riker: Are you even listening to me?
Laforge: Raising shield's, sir.
Riker: Hey! Useless! Listen!
LaForge: Yep captain, of course I'm listening. la de da de la la la...
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Old 05-28-2006, 05:42 AM
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Riker: That's it, I'm sticking you in Engineering until you learn the difference between warp and impulse.
LaForge: An idiot says what.
Riker: Yes, you do.
LaForge: Do'h.
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